APPLE: Helping Parents in the Chippewa Valley
By Melinda Gardner, executive director
For over thirty-four years, a wonderful place called the APPLE Pregnancy Care Center has been in Eau Claire. We offer free and confidential services including pregnancy testing and education and support for women, men, and families. We have grown from basically doing pregnancy tests and education to being a much bigger support to those in need. We understand the stress and crisis many of our clients are facing, and we are happy to help, support, and walk beside women and men during this time.
Our “Earn While You Learn” program (Smart Women for women and True Strength for men) offers a large curriculum that our moms and dads can choose from. They learn about fetal development, pregnancy and childbirth, discipline, potty training, breastfeeding, life skills including financial issues, and much more.Our parents get to choose what they’re interested in learning about, depending on where they are in their journey.
Coming to these one-on-one classes gives parents wonderful skills. They are mentored and supported and find much needed encouragement. AND they are rewarded with points to “purchase” items that have been donated to the center.
Parents receive maternity and baby clothing, bassinets, cribs, car seats, strollers, toys and books, formula and baby food, and the always needed diapers! They are happy to have “earned” it by making an effort to learn, and it is more valuable to them because of that.
One of our moms told us this week that the volunteer she regularly sees is “the only one I’ll talk to about absolutely everything.”
People in the community who want to help and support our parents generously give these items to APPLE. We have donations dropped off every day at our office and are so blessed by these gifts to our parents.
We see women and men go from being scared and knowing they need help to seeing how happy and proud they are when they come in for the first time with their new baby. It’s a beautiful thing.
If you or someone you know would like more information, please call APPLE Pregnancy Care Center at 715-834-5254. We’d love to talk with you.